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Sep 18 2017
by Ben Norrito

How to Help with the Impacts of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma

By Ben Norrito - Sep 18 2017

Since the threats of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have passed, both Houston and Florida need to focus on rebuilding after the storms. Billions of dollars worth of property have been damaged by these vicious storms. People are suffering and their lives have been destroyed. Whether or not you live near the sites where devastation has reigned supreme, you can still help. People need it and it's time for us to come together as Americans and humans.

1. Donate

The most obvious. People need money to rebuild after these storms have ripped their homes apart. Every little bit counts. You can donate to the Red Cross relief fund here. There are also various ways to donate through places like Apple (which can be found on the app store) and Google. These people need money to help them continue their lives since repairs are expensive. You can also donate food or goods. Many people may not need money but may need food or things to help them survive while repairs are underway; it varies case by case. If you want to help but don’t know how, this is the simplest way. A full list can be found here.

2. Volunteer

If you live near the impact zones of these storms but were lucky, help those who weren’t. Rebuilding is hard work. If you have some free time and wish to help, spend that time helping people. Help them clean out their homes, fix the damage or just lend a helping hand if you see someone struggling. It’s a great thing to do and showing kindness never hurts. You can sign up to join Habitat for Humanity here. You can also volunteer with places like the Red Cross or NOVAD (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster).

3. Open your doors.

If you live in the path of the hurricane but got lucky and escaped with minimal damage, offer the amenities you have to those who were not lucky. If you have power, offer it to neighbors who don’t. Offer them a hot meal or offer to do their laundry. If someone lost their plumbing but you didn’t, let them use your bathroom! It’s all pretty simple and is an easy way to help those in need.

4. Spread the word.  

If you can't help either physically or financially, tell people how! Sometimes people want to help but don't know how. You can be their outlet. Show them this article! Tell them they can either volunteer or donate. 

5. Don't forget.  

Even though media coverage may die off and people will stop caring, those affected by the hurricanes are still in the process of rebuilding their lives. They can't be forgotten. Just because the world has moved on doesn't mean they have. Keep helping. Keep donating. These people will spend years fixing and replacing what was lost.

These two hurricanes were possibly some of the most devastating hurricanes in American history. Many people’s lives have been destroyed and they need all the help they can get. If you can, please give either time or resources. People need help and we are the only ones who can help them. Don’t forget, helping also feels great!

Lead Image Credit: Ryan Johnson via Unsplash

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Ben Norrito - SUNY New Paltz

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